Clearing out a cluttered mind

If there was ever an indicator of how disconnected some of Tom Compton’s management team are with manufacturers who have been supporters of NHRA drag racing for 40-50 years it would be that NHRA’s sales department and the executives in charge have been able to totally alienate and insult one of the NHRA’s oldest and staunchest supporters in Jeff Stange of Strange Engineering.

Stange, son of Strange founder Bob Stange, is so angered by his dealings with the NHRA both socially and from a business perspective that he recently went on the Strange Engineering Facebook page and posted a letter telling the NHRA to “Go F**k Themselves!” This wasn’t a private letter or email sent in frustration. This was a totally thought out public announcement of his total lack of respect for or need to be associated with the NHRA.

Strange Engineering now joins many other legacy NHRA businesses that have either quit doing business with the NHRA or have reduced their presence to a bare minimum.

From almost the beginnings of the NHRA, Bob Stange and now his son Jeff were staunch NHRA supporters with their company’s products, which are vital for the NHRA’s nitro classes and with their money and engineering expertise. Over the last half-century Strange Engineering has sponsored many NHRA racers and teams from sportsman to nitro cars. They sponsored a five-car team including sportsman and pro class cars in the 1980s.  They’ve funded the very popular “Perfectly Strange” program for NHRA sportsman for years. They’ve paid contingency in every class that had Strange Engineering components and they ran full-page ads in almost every issue of National Dragster. 

But that is all in the past and it now seems possible that Strange Engineering will do no business and spend no money with the NHRA. So you can add the name of Strange Engineering to the list of companies like Ford, Castrol, Geico, Comp Cams, and all the beer companies that no longer advertise/sponsor because the sanctioning body doesn’t deliver a return on investment.

Yet the management at the NHRA apparently is unwilling to make any significant changes or concessions for their sponsors, race teams, or advertisers (that I’m aware of) to improve business and personal relationships with those long-time supporters. The prevailing attitude of the NHRA management when it comes to the companies involved with the NHRA seems to be “you have to spend your advertising dollars with the NHRA. There is no option, so you will take what we offer you and like it.”

Sadly what many of Compton’s management team don’t seem to grasp is that the NHRA is no longer the first option for advertisers, racers and fans. They are competing with a large number of other successful drag racing organizations and series (the IHRA, NMCA, and PDRA series for example) who are more than willing to do whatever advertisers and sponsors want or need to keep their business.

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